Wednesday, 7 October 2020

SDP Whip Arsen Bauk Says Speculation about Party Rift very Dangerous

ZAGREB, Oct 7, 2020 - Social Democratic Party whip Arsen Bauk said on Wednesday, following a rift in the SDP parliamentary group, that he hoped this was the last time something like that was happening because party members were fed up with conflicts and that conflicts would not continue.

The SDP group in the parliament on Tuesday rejected a proposal by the new SDP leader Pedja Grbin for changes in parliamentary positions held by the SDP.

Bauk said speculation about a rift in the party was very dangerous, adding that one such situation happened during the term of the last parliament when the party began the term with one number of MPs and ended it with a different number. He expressed hope this would not happen again.

"I have informed the parliamentary secretariat that the SDP presidency has decided that Pedja Grbin will be the new party whip, while Mirela Ahmetovic, Sinisa Hajdas Doncic, Sabina Glasovac and I will be his deputies, and we expect the secretariat to put those changes on the parliament's official web site," said Bauk.

The other proposals for appointments will not be forwarded by the party presidency but by the party's parliamentary group, in line with the parliament's standing orders. Since the parliament's standing orders say that party groups in the parliament are formed by political parties, I'm not sure the parliament's secretariat should arbitrate in parties' internal matters, said Bauk.

He assumes that the new party whip, as soon as the parliament secretariat carries out the proposed changes, would very shortly put forward a proposal for new personnel changes for the SDP.

When asked if Grbin would do so contrary to the will of a majority of SDP MPs, Bauk said that the will of SDP MPs would be determined at a plenary session.

Grbin on Wednesday would not comment on the conflict in the party but made a brief comment in a Facebook post on HDZ leader Andrej Plenkovic's statement that there was continuity of conflicts in the SDP.

"We do have problems, but we are dealing with them rather than sweeping them under the carpet. It's better to have the continuity of problems that are being dealt with than the continuity of not dealing with corruption," said Grbin.

HDZ whip surprised by SDP's motion

HDZ whip Branko Bacic told reporters he was surprised by the SDP's motion.

A party cannot send such proposals to the parliament, only a parliamentary group can or requests for certain appointments can be submitted if backed by a certain number of MPs, 40 for a deputy parliament speaker and 15 for a committee chair, he said.

"We are not a party state. Parties cannot propose bills or any other decision related to the work of the parliament. Under the standing orders, only parliamentary groups can do so or one should seek the support of a certain number of MPs. I'm surprised that Grbin, who chaired the Committee on the Constitution and Standing Orders, is putting forward a proposal which is, I won't say funny but is absolutely inappropriate and cannot be implemented, either under the law or under the standing orders," said Bacic, noting that the HDZ did not intend to arbitrate in the dispute in the SDP.

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Thursday, 24 September 2020

SDP Calls for Defense University Bill to be Withdrawn

ZAGREB, Sept 24, 2020 - Parliamentary opposition parties on Thursday raised a series of objections to the government-sponsored Defense University bill to establish a Defense and National Security University, with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) proposing that the bill be withdrawn from the floor.

"The bill belittles the science and education sector," said Sanja Radolovic (SDP), claiming that it was unconstitutional and unlawful. "We support the development of defense and security, but why to establish a university, why not start with a college?" she added, wondering who would validate degrees and why the Ministry of Science and Education was not in charge of the bill.

Marija Puljak of the Pametno party welcomed the initial idea but stressed that everything should be done in accordance with the procedures in place.

"I think that the challenges of today, such as the coronavirus epidemic, cyber-attacks, and climate change, require our army to be well educated, trained, and equipped to be able to cope with these challenges," said Andjelko Stricak of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ).

Marko Pavic (HDZ) said that there was a great tradition of military academies and universities in the world. He said he was pleased that a university would be established to cover the military security sector. "We should be more ambitious. The biggest companies target people who complete such studies," he noted.

Defence Minister Mario Banozic said that the new university would be organized as other public universities in Croatia, that it would be subject to laws governing defense, and would respect the constitutional provision on university autonomy.7

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